Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Holy War, Blowing Everything Up, White Supremacy, and "Pro-Life" White Christians: Commentary for Your Consideration

Rachel Held Evans responds to the tweet above from Christianity Today:

John Fea, "The Mind of the Evangelical Trump Voter": 

These evangelicals [who support the nameless one and put him into the White House] limit their understanding of "pro-life" to the issue of abortion. So, for example, they do not see Trump's recent executive order banning refugees to be a "life" issue. Many of them are outraged that protesters are making such a big deal over Trump's decision to stop the flow of Muslim refugees into the country when thousands and thousands of babies are being killed in the womb each year.

Fea adds: 

Evangelicals want their country back. Trump will not only make America great again, but he will protect them against internal and external threats. Most Trump evangelicals I talk with love his recent executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries. Man of them don’t want Muslims in America. Some of them still think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. They believe Muslim terrorists pose a threat to their lives, even though they are more likely to be killed by a moving train, flammable clothing, or cows than a Muslim terrorist. 
Trump is delivering "big league" for his evangelical voters. He is keeping his promises. It looks as if the 81% will not be going away anytime soon.

(So convenient, isn't it, to tell yourself you stand on the side of life, that you're "pro-life," while you write off the lives of millions of fellow human beings [healthcare coverage ripped away, targeted by bigoted anti-Muslim bans' as negligible?

Remember that many of those "babies" being killed in the womb are, per the dogmatic definition of these evangelicals and right-wing Catholics, zygotes; to their mind, the conceptus is, from the moment the sperm and ovum unite, a "baby." And whether you believe that the conceptus is a "baby" or not, they want to force you to believe it by force of law — or else. As a minority group: as a minority group not representing the views of the majority of the population, they intend to force their views on you by force of law. Whether you like it or not.

No one has taken these folks' country away from them. They still exert clout far in proportion to their numbers, and they use it to pummel and beat folks they target in the name of their Christ.

Pro-life, my eye.)

Henry Giroux, "Revisiting Orwell's '1984' in Trump's America": 

In this amalgam of Trump's blatant contempt for the truth, his blend of taunts and threats in his inaugural address and his eagerness to enact a surge of regressive executive orders, the ghost of fascism is reasserting itself, driven by a mix of fear and revenge. Unleashing promises he had made to his angry, die-hard ultra-nationalists and white supremacist supporters, Trump targeted a range of groups whom he believes have no place in American society. For now, this includes Muslims, Syrian refugees and undocumented immigrants who have become the collateral damage of a number of harsh discriminatory policies. The underlying ignorance, cruelty and punishing, if not criminogenic, intent behind such policies was amplified when Trump suggested that he intended to demolish environmental protections, resume state-sponsored torture and deny funding to those cities willing to provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants. And this was just the beginning. The financial elite now find their savior in Trump as they will receive more tax cuts, and happily embrace minimal government regulations, while their addiction to greed spins out of control. Should we be surprised?

Charles Pierce, "Here's What Jeff Sessions Really Means to the Trump White House": 

From the top now, right from the Oval Office, the Republican Party is attaching itself to contemporary white nationalism the world over. . . . 
The party is daring the country to stand by the progress it has made on its founding principles ever since the ink dried at Appomattox. It is trying to bluff a self-governing republic into committing suicide just the way those renegade CBP officials are trying to bluff people out of their green cards. It is relitigating the Civil War and World War II at the same time, and right out in public. Damn, things are fragile right now.

Matthew Schmalz, "What the Bible Says About Welcoming Refugees":

The Bible affirms – strongly and unequivocally – the obligation to treat strangers with dignity and hospitality. 
In "Love the Stranger," an article written for the annual meeting of the College Theological Society in 1991, biblical scholar Alice Laffey stated that in the Hebrew Bible, the words "gûr" and "gēr" are the ones most often glossed as referring to the "stranger," though they are also translated as "newcomer" and "alien" or "resident alien," respectively. 
In the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the word "gēr" appears almost 50 times, and the fifth book, Deuteronomy, delineates a number of specific provisions for treating "the stranger" not just with courtesy but also with active support and provision.

And then, of course, there's Matthew 25, about which Schmalz says, 

As Matthew 25 makes clear, the Christians should see everyone as "Christ" in the flesh. Indeed, scholars argue that in the New Testament, "stranger" and "neighbor" are in fact synonymous. Thus the Golden Rule, "love your neighbor as yourself," refers not just to people whom you know – your "neighbors" in a conventional sense – but also to people whom you do not know.

Eric Hananoki, "White Nationalists Praise Trump’s Muslim Ban: 'God Bless You,' 'Feel Like Crying' With Joy"

Heather Digby Parton, Trump’s Rasputin Seizes the Moment: A Week of Chaos May Suit Steve Bannon's Master Plan":

Bannon is a radical white nationalist whose main objective, as he has openly admitted, is to blow everything up — essentially to destroy the existing social and political order. What that leaves us with after the smoke clears is anyone's guess, since he is notably vague on the endgame. . . . 
You can see this perfectly manifested in the first week's orders on (nonexistent) voter fraud, immigration and deportation policies. The ban on Muslims from certain countries has particular national security implications, in that experts believe it will be a splendid propaganda tool for ISIS and will drive a wedge between the U.S. and many of its allies, which fits perfectly with Bannon's general 'blow it up' philosophy. 
As Bannon said last summer, Trump is just a "blunt instrument" and at this point it doesn't matter if he "gets it" or not. In his new role as Trump's Rasputin, Steve Bannon is now in a position to literally make his dreams of destruction come true.

John Fea, "Historian Heather Cox Richardson on Trump's Muslim Ban: 'It’s a Shock Event'" (the excerpt is from Richardson's Facebook page):

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a "shock event." Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event. 
Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Kevin Drum, "Trump's Immigration Fiasco Might Be More Premeditated Than We Think":

In cases like this, the smart money is usually on incompetence, not malice. But this looks more like deliberate malice to me. Bannon wanted turmoil and condemnation. He wanted this executive order to get as much publicity as possible. He wanted the ACLU involved. He thinks this will be a PR win. 
Liberals think the same thing. All the protests, the court judgments, the press coverage: this is something that will make middle America understand just what Trump is really all about. And once they figure it out, they'll turn on him. 
In other words, both sides think that maximum exposure is good for them. Liberals think middle America will be appalled at Trump's callousness. Bannon thinks middle America will be appalled that lefties and the elite media are taking the side of terrorists. After a week of skirmishes, this is finally a hill that both sides are willing to die for. Who's going to win?

Ben Norton, "Trump's Right-Hand Man Steve Bannon Called for Christian Holy War: Now He's on the National Security Council":

Ultra-right-wing pundit Glenn Beck compared Bannon to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, a close ally of Adolf Hitler, and said the Trump campaign was "grooming Brownshirts," in reference to Nazi paramilitaries. According to Beck, "Bannon is 'quite possibly the most dangerous guy in all of American politics."
Republican strategist John Weaver, who worked on Republican John Kasich's 2016 presidential campaign, likewise warned that, with Bannon as Trump's chief strategist, "The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office." (The Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party praised Trump for appointing Bannon to his top positions.)

P.S. Bannon's call for a Christian holy war was issued at a conference in the Vatican in 2014. You read that right: Steve Bannon, who is Catholic, spoke at a 2014 International Conference on Human Dignity organized by the Rome-based Christian organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute in the Vatican and issued a call for holy war at that conference.

Asawin Suebsaeng, "Steve Bannon’s Long Love Affair With War":

Those who have known Bannon for years, and before he ascended to executive power, describe a man almost obsessed with military history, guerilla warfare, and the general art of war and nationalist foreign policy. 
In his Hollywood days, Bannon could easily play war, writing vast landscapes of warfare and conflict into his scripts, sometimes set in outer space
Thanks to Donald J. Trump, Bannon now could get to do it for real.

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